Babies will be genetically sequenced from birth within our lifetime so early treatment can be started for a host of diseases, experts have claimed.
Prof Anne Bowcock, Professor of Cancer Genomics at Imperial College, claims genetic screening of newborns will be the future of medicine and will be widely available within the next 30 to 40 years.
“We see genetics as being the future of medicine. From the time we are born we will know how at risk we are of disease. I think this will happen within my lifetime,” said Bowcock. “Obviously there are ethical problems that run alongside that particularly for parents. But it would mean many diseases could be caught early and treated.”
Screening infants is likely to raise concerns about the ethics of such testing, particularly if it was to highlight an incurable disease which would not emerge until later in life, or an illness that the child may want to keep private.
Knowing about future risks may also alter how a child is treated by its parents.
And there are fears that the technology may throw up false positives and predict diseases that would never emerged leading to needless treatment and worry.
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